SAGU, Golson TD wins in OT, 28-27
Defense scores TD, forces six turnovers
Lions travel to Langston (4-4) on Nov. 2
GOODWELL, Oklahoma -- Traveling 480 miles, Southwestern Assemblies of God University had no plans to be a cooperative homecoming guest. Scoring early and late, the Lions stunned Oklahoma Panhandle State University, 28-27, in overtime on Saturday evening.
The win improved SAGU’s record to 3-5, the same as NCAA Division II’s Panhandle State.
It was the Lions first win after three defeats at the hands of the Aggies. One was a 50-48 double-overtime home loss in 2009.
SAGU built a 21-7 halftime lead before the Aggies staged two long scoring drives to tie the game with 1:15 to play.
After scoring in three plays on the first possession of OT, OPSU’s gamble for a two-point conversion failed.
Their extra-point kick was no good, but a facemask penalty on the Lions gave them a reprieve. Opting to go for two, QB Justin Billiot ran right on a power sweep... right into linebackers Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, La / Slidell HS) and Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS).
Needing only a yard and a half, Billiot failed to get back to the line scrimmage. OPSU led 27-21.
Junior quarterback Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ., Grandview HS) settled the outcome in one play.
Like a human pinball he scrambled out of reach of flipper-like tacklers from 25-yards out to level the backglass display at 27. On a pass play designed to go right, Golson took one step, then bolted left. He zoomed past tackle Peter Akorikin (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) into the open. He juked a defender at the 10-yard line and barrelled into the end zone.
An aggressive Aggies defense had swarmed to the right, allowing the elusive dirvish room to show his wares.
James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) trotted onto the natural surface of Carl Wooten Field to try for the point after touchdown (PAT).
Reliable all season, the junior had missed three earlier field goal tries, the last being a 26-yarder that would’ve won the game on the final play of regulation. With winds gusting between 15-25 miles per hour and temperatures in the low 40's (excluding wind chill), conditions were a large factor.
Nic Morphew (Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ., Grandview HS) took the snap and made the spot where Gish was true, splitting the uprights.
SAGU won 28-27 and ‘tilt’ed the scoreboard in favor of the guests.
Snyder, Ekanem, Mansary get picks
The Lions defense was active and highly effective, with five of their top seven tacklers being linebackers.
A week after allowing 58 points and over 550 yards, they bent but wouldn’t break. Panhandle State managed 348-yds and 20 points. Their only touchdown in the first half was a 95-yard kickoff return after SAGU took a 14-0 second quarter lead.
The Lions secondary, torched for 407 yards last week at Wayland Baptist University, bounced back with a vengeance. The Aggies mustered just 117 yards and zero touchdowns.
For the second straight week SAGU intercepted four passes, two by freshman LB Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS).
Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State Univ., B.F. Terry HS) picked off one, giving him six in a season for the second time in his career. His theft halted a drive at the SAGU 5-yard line.
The other came two plays after Trevor Van Kempen (Henderson, Nev / Mountain View Christian) and Caleb Shelly (Cold Spring, Tx / Cold Spring HS) downed a 44-yard Stephen Stewart (Magnolia, Tx / Magnolia HS) punt at the OPSU three.
Redshirt freshman Mohammed “Mo” Mansaray (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS) swiped a deflected Caleb Holbrook pass and darted 10-yards for a TD early in the second period. Ben Atkinson (Glenpool, Ok / Glenpool HS) got a hand on the pass that bounced to Mansaray.
Safety Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) was credited with 14 tackles. Snyder, sophomore LB Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) and LB Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS) each had 10 stops.
Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, LA / Slidell HS) added eight and Mansaray added another seven.
Snyder and junior DT D.J. Johnson (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS) each accounted for a QB sack.
The offense struggled at times, but capitalized in the clutch. They gained 263 yards, 103 under their average.
What they did on Saturday was take care of the football.
Behind the leadership of Golson, their field general, they moved the chains during 17 first downs and made just one turnover. They also were penalized only three times for 23 yards, well under their season average.
In short, the Lions refused to beat themselves.
Even during the second half when they were shutout, Golson led them to seven first downs and a lone three-and-out.
Three drives ended in Aggie territory, two finishing in missed field goals, the other a fumble at the OPSU 35.
Southwestern scored first.
On the series after Ekanem’s interception, the Jungle Kings marched 95-yards in seven plays, capped by a 44-yard dash by Landry Martinez (Godley, Tx / Godley HS).
Martinez cut inside a block by right tackle Mitchell Grimes (McKinney, Tx / McKinney North HS) into the great wide open. At the 20 yard line his double-move froze a linebacker and he blazed untouched in the end zone.
The big play was a third-and-three pass to Matt Umphenour (Chowchilla, Cal / Chowchilla Union HS) that picked up 23 yards and a first down at the OPSU 45. One play later Martinez scored his second TD in as many games.
The Aggies assembled a nine-play march to the Lions 32. On fourth and three the drive stalled when Davis applied the brakes.
Next came Mansaray’s pick-six and the Aggies kick return for a touchdown by Nick Collins.
SAGU blew a golden opportunity later. Shelly recovered a fumbled punt as the Lions set-up camp at the Okie 32. A 14-yard Golson to Austin Martinez (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS) pass enabled Team Purple to reach the nine yard line, where Gish was wide left from 26-yds.
Soon after came the first of two Snyder picks. He pilfered a Holbrook aerial on 3rd-and-10, returning it 18-yards to the Aggies 12. On third-and-six from the eight, Golson scrambled in for a 21-7 advantage at recess.
Martinez led the ground game for the Lions with 78-yards on 16 carries, while Golson netted 63 on 14 totes of the pigskin.
Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) was the top receiver with four receptions for 52 yards.
Golson connected 11 of 25 attempts for 117 yards. He was sacked three times and threw zero INTS.
Final Two Games on Nov. 3, 10
The Lions will play their third consecutive homecoming game on the road next Saturday, November 3 at Langston University at 2:00pm.
Cooperating for the hosts, as evidenced on Saturday, is unlikely.
The Langston Lions are 4-4 after a 29-11 loss at McMurry University (Abilene, Tx) on Saturday. The War Hawks, members of the NCAA’s Division II, are 5-3.
McMurry led 22-3 at the half. Twenty-two penalties against Langston for 186 yards contributed to every Hawks score.
The Lions return home for “Senior Day” on Nov. 10, when they will take on Texas College at Lumpkins Stadium.
The game will be aired in high definition on the internet by SAGU Sports Live.
Two wins would finish the 2012 season at 5-5, the most wins yet at SAGU. They have won four times twice in the last four seasons.